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Organs and Organisms

Our students are engaged in research spanning a variety of biological systems using basic animal models of disease to clinical approaches for treatment. Departments including Medicine, Neurobiology and the RNA Therapeutics Institute offer training in highly collaborative and supportive communities.

Functional Dissection of Cancer Mutations in Mouse Models

Preclinical Discovery for Cancer and Disease Correction

Wen Xue Lab and Jordan L. Smith

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The Xue lab goal is to explore various small RNA tools, including CRISPR/Cas9 platforms, to functionally dissect cancer mutations in mouse models of liver cancer and to identify strategies for disease correction in rare genetic diseases. The Xue lab’s most recent work includes: CRISPR-Cas9 screening to elucidate mechanisms of senescence in liver cancer, repurposing CRISPR-Cas9 for efficient cancer modeling, and base editing for disease correction in familial tyrosinemia.  See the research taking place in the Xue lab here: Xue Lab

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I joined Dr. Wen Xue’slab in 2017.  As a rotation student, I explored mechanisms of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and helped determine that single guide RNA (sgRNA) can induce alternative exon skipping and large genetic deletions. These findings, published in Genome Biology, demonstrated the potential complications of using CRISPR/Cas9 editing in cancer biology modeling. My thesis work focuses on identifying tractable therapeutic strategies in rare pediatric cancers through exploring mechanism of oncogene addiction and cancer cell differentiation.
Jordan.Smith@umassmed.edu